Monday, April 30, 2012

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Hello Family! I decided that when life gets really hard, or I start to feel discouraged, that something great is about to happen. We watched the Joseph Smith movie with some investigators yesterday. It amazes me the faith the Joseph Smith had, no matter all the persecution; all the pain and trails, he never doubted what he knew to be true. It would have been so easy for him to just give up. To stop all the persecution and deny what he saw. If that would have happened, where would we be now? It is sad that there was so much suffering in his life, but if he didn't bear with his afflictions the gospel would not be so true. It is true! It is so true, and I wish it was easier for everyone to see that. But when we take those steps on the right path, and lay in store countless eternal blessings, the devil does not want that. In district meeting on Wednesday we did an activity where we blindfolded one of the missionaries. We sent them out of the room and then brought them in without any instruction on what they were supposed to do. One missionary was the Holy Ghost, while the rest of us were the adversary. We watched as this missionary struggled to figure out what was the right thing to do. It took a while to recognize the voice of the Holy Ghost vs. the adversary. The adversary was loud and bold. The Holy Ghost was quiet and took a lot of listening to hear and understand. However, when the missionary recognized the Holy Ghost it was easier to follow the promptings that were given. However, the closer and closer the missionary got to making it to the end of the obstacle, the harder and harder we (the adversary) tried to distract him by throwing things at him and trying harder now than at the beginning to take him off of this path. That is exactly how it really is, the devil does not want us to succeed. He does not want us to have eternal happiness. He will do everything in his power to try to take us away from that. I see that a lot with our investigators. One of our investigators knows the gospel is true. He knows it so strongly and he recognized the voice of the Holy Ghost. However, Satan knows our weaknesses, he knows what is going to bring us down. And he will try anything to pull us away from something that is going to be good for us. It easy for me to say, just do what it takes to follow Christ because I know the blessings that come from it. It is harder for those who do not see the end result, or do not have that eternal perspective. That is why it is so important in those times, where there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, to take that leap of faith, and even if the end result is no where in sight, trust the Lord, submit everything to Him, and because he loves all of his children, he will not forsake us. He will bless us! We had a lesson with Ron this week. He told us he is agnostic going on atheist. But before we went to this lesson we had some time to kill. We had been praying a lot for a girl that lived right by him, we decided that we were going to pick a potential investigator each week and pray about them every day. Anyway, we decided that because we had a few minutes we were going to go visit her. She came out and she was crying. It was sad but we were definitely there at the right time. She needs the gospel! She gave us her phone number and we will be meeting with her soon! Ron's lesson went well.. he committed to come to church on fast Sunday and to read. His problem is prayer, he can't get past that he just having a mental diary.. I really don't know how to fix that. But I know if he has sincere prayers and looks for his answer, God will answer! Our member was telling us a story about how God doesn't give us trials we cannot overcome. One fast Sunday she was having a really hard time, everything in her life seemed to be falling apart. Many people got up and bore their testimony and she frankly just didn't want to be there. The last guy got up and shared about his perfect life, how he had a great job, great family, great everything. Our member just rolled her eyes in frustration. Towards the end of his testimony he started to cry, he stated that God does not give anyone trails they cannot overcome, so "why doesn't God trust me". He recognized that trials turn into a strength and a time for improvement in faith. Gah.. I love this gospel! I love how God answers prayers :) You actually get a semi short email this week! Ha ha I love you all so much! I hope you are doing good, I think about you often! Much love, Sister Poulson "If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. And with prophets revealing to us our place in the plan of salvation, we can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service, because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right, to bear us up. And He always keeps His word." —President Henry B. Eyring

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Be of good cheer! The Future is as bright as your faith. Stop Seeking out the Storms and enjoy Seeking out the Sunlight Hello Family! This week I am at a loss of words. So much happens, and yet I cannot think of what I want to share with you. We lost 2 investigators this week. It is really sad and it gets hard, but I know that our effort wasn't wasted, and that maybe we were just the sewers in their conversion. However, with every door that closes one door opens! We have been working with Vance and Sally for a while now and we met with them this week. He has been really sick and we brought a member to our lesson (a less active that is now completely active and serving as a ward missionary :) :) :)) anyway, as we were sitting there talking I got this feeling that we needed to offer a priesthood blessing. We had the priesthood there and there is nothing more powerful than a priesthood blessing. He accepted and Seth (not his real name) was able to give him a priesthood blessing. Coming from over 5 years of not having anything to do with the church to giving a priesthood blessing was a miracle. I definitely knew that he was grateful to have the priesthood, to be worthy of it, so that he could serve the Lord, and serve those around him. It was really neat and it invited the spirit immediately, after the blessing we just sat in silence for a min. because there was a change in the atmosphere (a good one). Anyway the lesson ended up going pretty well and by the end we asked them if they would like to be baptized. This week I have really noticed the importance of being bold but loving. Nothing gets done when we ask, "maybe... if you'd like... would you want to get baptized" where is the power in that? But when we ask boldly "WILL YOU FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS CHRIST and be baptized" it is powerful! It shows the importance of it, this gospel and baptism isn't just something cool, but it is IMPORTANT and when we treat it like it is then the power of the spirit comes along with it. It is a matter of salvation, and receiving all the blessings that God would have available to us, it is a change of life, that effects the eternities. I love this work! Vance and Sally did not commit fully to the date we had set for them, but they were willing to work towards it, it gave them a goal, and is helping them to work towards this great step in their life. I love having goals! It helps me and my investigators work towards our potential. It is important to establish, where we want to be and how we are going to get there. As we were walking out Sister Piggott shook Vance's hand and said "So.. we are working towards the 5th right?" His response: "Ya (with a smile)"! Things are looking good in the rainy state of Portland! Yesterday we were asked to speak in church. We were asked to speak on the Plan of Salvation and Christ’s role in it. It is funny because at home a talk is a huge deal, but on a mission I felt like it was nothing.. we do this every day. But it was a great opportunity to get our investigators to church. I love God's plan for us. How great is God that he not only gives us families, but he gives us the opportunity to have the best family relationships, shows us how, and allows us the opportunity to live with them forever. We have that opportunity, but the great thing is, everyone does! If we choose to live by the teachings of Jesus Christ, he doesn't pick favorites, but loves everyone perfectly. I know that I can't pick the choices for everyone, but I know what my goal is, and that is to have you all with me in eternity! So I am going to do all I can to have that! I might have told you that the Baptist who is getting baptized had sort of fallen off the face of the earth. We could not get a hold of him, and he wasn't responding to our texts. I just have to say that prayer works. God listens, and if we have righteous desires, he will grant us the blessings. He was golden, I cannot tell you how strong his testimony was, we felt it, and he felt it. He knows that baptism is what he needs to do, but not only that, he wants it. He wants to have the Holy Ghost with him all the time, and he knew that this church was the only one with the authority from God to perform those eternal ordinances. After much prayer, we got in contact with him yesterday! Hearing his voice brought me to tears! He is not lost! I have a strong testimony that the devil would not try so hard to bring someone away from something, unless it was true, and unless it was eternally good. Satan knew that this man was ready for the gospel, and that this would bring blessings that nothing else could bring, and he didn't want that for him. We talked a lot about his concerns, and he just needed to be reminded that he knows! He has felt the truth and he cannot deny it. I will let you know when that baptism is, and make sure that I take lots of pictures! I cannot wait for the blessings it is going to bring him and his family someday. If I ever get a letter that his son is going on a mission, or daughter getting married in the temple, I don't think there would be anything better! Anyway we are going to downtown Portland today. I have heard that it is possibly one of the weirdest places on earth. But I will be getting a Portland sweatshirt! I have waited so long to get one ha ha. (PS when we all family vacate here we are going to vodu doughnuts.. bacon maple flavor, bubble gum, captain crunch, etc.) I love you all eternally :) Sister Poulson Funny of the week: Last night during planning.. we were not mentally stable or something.. So I was frolicking around and Sister Piggott was letting me jump over her while having hand spasms or something, and I jumped on her hand.. almost broke it. But no worries, all is well! Just a bruised knuckle.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh happy week!
Because of my lack of rememberance I have to start off with what I did today (the rest is a blur ha ha). We got to go to the leatherman factory because a member in our district leaders ward is a big part in the company. He showed us around. For the most part it was pretty loud, smelt like oil and metal, and kinda guyish... But! I did learn something ha ha. It is funny how on a mission absolutely everything can be related to the gospel (I guess it could work the same not on a mission as well). We have so many cool little gadgets and technology and just so much at our hands, but how many times do we think about what goes into something? What goes into making dinner every night? What goes into making lights turn on? What goes into making a 2 inch leatherman tool? etc. and I was thinking about how that is the same in the gospel. I know I am lucky to have the gospel, but I don't realize how lucky I am until I see someone who doesn't have it, and how grateful they are to hear only a portion of the gospel. A guy came into the Visitor Center the other night and he was telling me about his conversation. It was funny because right before that I was having a hard time, I was feeling like maybe I wasn't doing much and that my efforts weren't as great as I thought. Then he came in and shared how grateful he was for the gospel, he told me how his life has changed because of it. He said that the missionaries that taught him will never know how much they helped him, and how grateful he was for them. It was just what I needed. God always knows what I need, and I am so grateful for that. It didn't change the fact that most of our investigators don't come to church, but it helped me to get motivated and see the big picture. It isn't just about now, but it is about having an eternal perspective. When I think about my investigators at an eternal perspective, I see the greatness that they are going to do, and how much their children and grandchildren need them, and their future generations and the change the gospel can make for them. In short, I was pumped to go out and make sure that I did all I could to help them out for the best eternity possible for them.
It made all the difference this week. It was a slower week with lessons last week, but when I told myself that it was ok, and that we were going to find people, and that I was going to put my whole heart into it, because I wanted it that bad for them, that is when the blessings flowed! Our next lesson was with an older lady, she is 82 and I love her with all my heart, from the moment I first met her I just loved her so much, it almost makes me cry. I am not even sure why I feel so much love for her. But I wanted the gospel so bad for her, because I knew without a doubt that it was what she needed to not feel so alone. Before our lesson she called us and told us that it was probably going to be our last lesson, because she wasn't going to convert and she felt bad for taking up so much of our time. I told her we would talk about that at the lesson. The spirit has never been so strong at any of my lessons. We were at the visitors center and by the end we were both in tears (Sis. Piggot doesn't cry.. lol). It was the first time I ever really really wanted it for someone for their own welfare, and she felt it. She trusted us and opened up about a few concerns. At the end she asked if we could meet again. I was full with gratitude and so grateful that the spirit was the guide of that lesson, because lets be honest.. sometimes I have no idea what to do, or what these people need to hear. But God always does! Ohhhh and you know that mother and daughter that I talked about a long time ago that kinda feel off the face of the earth, well... we are teaching them on Thursday!!! What a blessing of a week! There are so many great things happening and I am just soo excited! Did I tell you that this ward has not seen a baptism in over 2 years.. well, I feel very strongly that this is going to change soon! I wish I could tell you about each and every one of our investigators. Maybe someday! Gosh I love em :)! Moral of the story is don't give up! On anyone or on anything. I figured out this great analogy in my head.. ha ha ready for it..? So life is kinda like a work out routine (bare with me), working out is good for us, but sometimes we just don't want to do it. That is the same with situations in life, we know what is good for us but sometimes we just don't do it.. because it is easier. Also.. there are points in a workout where it is easy to just give up and stop. But if we finish the work out, how much better do we feel about ourselves? Same with life, if we keep going when it is easy to give up, we will be grateful in the end and feel great! Ok.. maybe it wasn't such a great analogy, but it sounded really awesome in my head! Anyway, life is short, so do the best we can, because eternity isn't! I love you lots!!
Sister Poulson
THE CHURCH IS SOOO TRUE!! I never ever ever want to forget it! (I found how much more I grow when I have something spiritual in every day, because for me church is great and I get a spiritual high.. but it fades throughout the week, that is why it is so important to read the scriptures everyday. So I can be reminded of how great our God is!)

Funny of the week: We are driving to the visitors center to meet one of our investigators. I type in the address in the GPS and it tells us to go straight. Well.. Sister Piggott is positive that she knows this shortcut that the GPS doesn't. Me: "I think we are supposed to go straight here." Her: "Oh no.. see I have found a lot of short cuts, and this is one that the GPS doesn't know." So.. after driving for about 5-10 min, we come out of her "short cut" a good 5 feet from the spot where the short cut began.. ha ha turns out her short cut was more of a scenic route.. and we were only 30 min. late for our lesson, but.. our investigator understood!

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Smooth Sea doesn't make for a skilled Sailor

Dear Family,

Happy Easter! I just have to say how grateful I am for the Savior! It is a shame that it takes Easter for me to really think about all the Lord has done for me. My heart is filled with gratitude. He came to this earth and bore the hardest trails and pains, and he did it with a loving heart, all because he loves us. He suffered everything alone; no friends, no one to understand, and everywhere he went there was rejection and hatred towards him. I know if it were me I would not be very nice.. but he never said a hateful word, he loved those that persecuted him. Even on the cross he begged for forgiveness for those that had done that to him. Because he knew.. he knew how they would feel the day they came to know that they crucified their Savior, he knew the guilt they would feel and the pain in their hearts, and because he loved them he suffered the atonement for them, so they wouldn't have to feel that. I love being a missionary, the longer I am on a mission the more I realize how in debt to the Lord I really am. I am so grateful that I can go on a mission and sacrifice a year and a half to Him, which won't even come close to repaying my debt. But I know that whatever I do, no matter how far away I am from paying that debt off, if I do my best, it will be enough! It was a great Easter for me! I cannot express in words how grateful I am to have what I have and to know what I know. I am so lucky, I am more than lucky! Even if it was a bumpier week, I feel so blessed and so happy.

A few weeks ago a lady came into the visitor center. She talked with Sister Peterson and at the end of her visit asked if she could have missionaries email her. She explained that she had been raised Baptist (ironic right) and that her parents were still very strong in the faith and would not approve and her father may even handle her investigation in a hostile matter if he knew. So.. Long story short her email got passed off to me. I have been emailing her for a few weeks now and she even built up enough faith to meet with missionaries. Last Saturday I went to her baptism! It was so beautiful! It is neat to watch how people who were so closed off to the church and who had said no many times come to find the truth in the Gospel, and not only that but they are so grateful for it. I love knowing that no matter what a person does or says, God will never give up on them, and he will try and try again to keep gathering his sheep and bringing new ones in! He is filled with second chances. Did you know that the average investigator has 11 interactions with the church before he/she commits to being baptized.. I love knowing that I can be a part of at least one of those 11! I have found that things don't always work out the way I envision or plan them to, but that the Lord knows what he is doing! I may not be the one who baptizes some, but I know that the Lord needs me for things that I might never know I did. Never delay a prompting! I love that conference talk! I have found that following a prompting doesn't always lead to what I think it should, but that God gave me the prompting for a reason, and if I act on it, the Lords work will be done, regardless if I ever know what it actually did.

Story time! So.. There was a man and he was sitting at a train station waiting for his train. He had a lot of work to do and was busy away at his computer. Another man with his kids come to the station and the kids are out of control.. they are running around everywhere and screaming and just being kids. The guy at work begins to be really frustrated.. he is working and these kids are being more than distracting. He keeps getting angrier and angrier until he almost goes over and yells at this man to take care of his kids. Just when he is about to say something the father gets a phone call, he overhears that the mother just died and the father had not told his children yet.. he didn't know how to tell the kids and he didn't know what to do when he got home.. he was a mess and didn't know what to do. The working man had a complete change of heart, he didn't look to this man with such frustration but with love and concern. Instead of his own welfare he began to think of this family and what he could do to help. I love this story because to me it is true repentance. Repentance is not just a stop in doing something, but it is a change of heart and a willingness to change for the better!

I hope you are all well! I love you so much!


Sister Poulson

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Faith cannot be proved

Hello Family!
This week I learned a great lesson, and that is that no one can be fully converted to the gospel by proof of truth. I can sit and tell someone of the evidence that the Book of Mormon is true, but it will not build any faith. My MTC teacher was telling me a story; when she was at the Visitors Center a lady came in that was adamant about only needing the Bible. Sis. Maxfield knew the Bible really well and she thought "perfect" I can show to her through the Bible that another book is necessary. She sat down and shared scriptures that told of the need of another book, and the missing parts of the Bible that the Book of Mormon could fill in. By the end of the lesson the lady said "well.. I'm not sure I believe in the Bible anymore." What?! How sad! It goes to show though that no one can prove to someone that something is true, it is a matter of faith. Proof will not lead to action, but faith will! The other day we were meeting with our investigators (me and sister Piggotts "boyfriend" ha ha and his wife) our lessons with them tend to go extra long because the member we bring with us was his high school friend and they tend to get side trackted and go down memory lane and since me and Sister Piggott have quiet voices.. theirs win out! Anyway we got on the subject of baptism and we were talking about how the one thing that sets our church aside from other Christian faith's is that we have that authority from got (AKA the priesthood) to perform ordinances in Gods name. He was baptized in another faith and was asking us if this was valid. Before we knew it our member started going off about how it wasn't.. Even though it isn't, he could have gone about it in a much nicer way. It broke out into a full on argument and they were practically screaming at each other, I couldn't say anything nor could Sister Piggott because 1. Our voices weren't loud enough and 2. When we tried to cut in we would get cut off. It was bad.. the spirit was not there and we were both practically in tears. It is amazing how close we are to the spirit as missionaries and how different it feels and how awful it feels when the spirit is not there. I was ready to just go home... and I think his wife was ready to leave as well. Anyway.. by some miracle we were able to get a word in after 30 or so min. We stated that we were not there to prove anything was true or to prove that our church was the only church that had valid baptisms.. But that it was a matter of faith. For if they came to know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet then they would know it was true, and want to get baptized vs. someone telling them they had to because it was the right way. For them they had not yet received that witness that it is the right way, and by the member trying to prove to them that it was the only right way, just resulted in them being angry... One thing I love about this church is that we are not reliant on proof, but we are reliant on the spirit. No one had to tell me this church was true for me to believe it, I had to find out for myself if it was true. Even though I grew up in the church and always did "what was right" I too had to be converted to the gospel. I don't think I ever truly knew it was true until I really wanted to know. I can read the Book of Mormon over and over again and unless I am desirous to know if it is true, then can the spirit witness to me that it is. It wasn't until I prayed about the Book of Mormon and with faith asked God if it was true, that I found that out for myself, and that is when my faith led to actions such as a mission. But I love that as missionaries we are not here to prove to people how great the Gospel is and how much it can bless someones life, but we get to watch them grow in faith. We don't do anything except simply invite people to pray and read, the spirit does the rest. And unless someone is fully converted to know the truth they will not stay in the church, because the testimony isn't there. Anyways, we ended up talking about how even though their baptism wasn't necessarily valid, that God would not just shut them out of heaven because of it, but that he would recognize it as an act of faith and love his children for doing what they thought was right in His eyes, and then show them how it should be done. We decided that maybe we shouldn't take that member anymore because it left with harsh feelings vs. the spirit, and things are looking better! We watched Saturday afternoon session with them and they loved it!

Wasn't Conference great though?! I don't think I have ever listened so sincerely to it! I think it was because I wasn't watching it for me this time, but I was listening for my investigators, and it was so neat. And of course I learned plenty for myself as well.. I am not perfect at all and have a lot to learn from the leaders of the Church! We watched conference on Saturday with those investigators above and then on Sunday we had a big breakfast with 3 other investigators and watched the morning session. Guess what we had?! Sticky buns and candied bacon (which is bacon baked with brown sugar and is so freaking good!), so it was almost like being at home for conference! It was fun! Ahh.. our investigators are finally progressing! It is the greatest feeling! And sometimes agency is a bugger because we just want to make people come to church and to read and to pray and all that good stuff, but agency is a gift from God and once they used it correctly they will know how great this gospel is! Anyways our investigator is here and we need to go teach! I love you all millions!!


Sister Poulson